By Hafsa Kamal
There are a lot of things swirling in the air that my ears catch a bit of. Let me tell you, these things I hear aren’t pretty in the least. They’re frightening. Especially when I think of the consequences at large.
1. Like Beads of a Broken Tasbeeh: We’re talking on a global level. This year came off to a gruesome start, or shall I say it had already begun around last year during Ramadan. The heatstroke went through the ceiling to a point where statistical figures on death rates soared to a numbing point. We all started hearing about numbers- till we got hold of news about people we actually knew who succumbed to the traumatic impact of the heat wave.
This was quickly followed by the two tragic incidents in Hajj (my parents and sibling were there at that time) and my heart was often humming in crazy panic over it. Oh, it was a horrible feeling. Imagine how horrible it must have been for those who really caught the brunt of it then. Without going too deeply into it though, three distant relatives of mine were victims to the Mina Stampede. Our hearts literally bled when we found out. I can still recall my grandfather frantically call my relatives’ family in Karachi to know if they were safe- and a week after, their identities came out as part of those who were unrecognizably stamped to death.
This doesn’t end here. Just when we thought we had it worse- The Gaza episode became progressively worse. The Syrian wars were broadcasted. Pictures and news of brutality erupted. Burmese Muslims were cruelly slaughtered (yes, slaughtered. Butchered. For no apparent reason at all except for the fact that they believe in One God) and ISIS coldly emerged with pictures of horrible human hunting and ruthless killings. I felt like closing my eyes for a second and wondering, ‘Why?’ But that question was quickly swept aside. Who am I to ask why?
The tugging of the heart with tears of blood was triggered by the Peshawar Attack. The thought kept coming so often. The news kept sensualizing it as if it didn’t make us cry enough already with helpless feeling of self-hate and general discontent.
The Prophecy is coming true right here, whack in the middle of our vision. If we are still myopic enough not to perceive it, that is our fault. We need to pull our heads out of the sand and see the things happening to Muslims and people at large. We are globally condemned and warily speculated. The news keep on disrespecting our ideologies to a point where we ourselves have started to question it. Where are we going wrong?
2. Media and Mass Hypnotism: When I was doing my O-Levels, I studied something in Sociology that was madly interesting. It was the hypothermic Syringe Model Theory in Media. That is when the recurrent portrayal of news injects beliefs and ideas within the subconscious in the long run. How true is that? Half the people across the world have never known, nor encountered, Muslims. Yet they hate us. Or, they hate the idea of what we adhere to. And without proper understanding, they succumb to the pressure of news highlighting ‘Muslim does so-and-so’ without investigating the truth further. It is when we pass judgments without concrete facts to support our evidence but mere perception of what we are told is when I start to doubt the credibility of Media and the thought-process of people at large. What happened to ‘innocent till proven guilty’? Why are verdicts passed off without prior investigation? If the media tells us that cows can fly and- let’s make it interesting, shows us that cows are flying- aren’t we going to ask how?
3. When We Have a Phone at 15: I didn’t even have a cell phone before the age of 19. It’s not because my parents didn’t trust me. It’s because my parents didn’t trust society and the internet. When I look back to my childhood with all the physical outdoor activities and games we played and compare that to a couple of kids holding an IPad- I wonder how priorities have shifted. We should worry about what the children are seeing and doing at this point. Even teenagers have become twice as rebellious despite getting all the gadgets they wish to have. There is a communication gap between the youth and parents or the parents try too hard to be their children’s ‘best friends’ by allowing them to do whatever they want. At that age, we can’t even rationalize despite thinking we can. If I compare myself to the way I think now to the things I thought when I was seventeen, I know that with age comes maturity. At that age, we are far too young to know what’s wrong and right. I’m not just talking about the moral aspect--- and that too has changed a whole lot--- but social priorities. And I know that I can’t generalize this perspective since every household has their own set of norms and values, but I still beg many people to look into it once again. Modernism might be thrilling but the traditional values taught by our grandparents should have call to action on reviving humanity, modesty and faith.
4. Entertainment till near end: I understand that’s a gruesome subtext but it is so true. So many people have talked about time literally flying. That subjective viewpoint kind of debunks the relative theory of time and might cause Einstein to turn in his grave but his theory isn’t wrong. Time is constant and relative--- the pace actually depends on the observer’s perception. Yet, with all the ease on earth owing to technology, the one thing we often don’t have is, yup, Time. Time for what? Time to catch up or do certain things? However, we often have the time to entertain ourselves till it comes to a point where time entertains itself at our expense. Yes, that was a very grotesque image sketched by me, I apologize. But let’s be reasonable here, if we can’t work for what matters in the end, then what are we doing with ourselves besides wasting away the precious time? We know that although we can turn the clock back, we can never turn the time even a second back after it has passed. We have to make the most of this uncertain time we have. With our eyes witnessing the many people, including dear ones we knew of, passing away, shouldn’t that be enough for us to know that that is where each one of us will end up at some point? What should we strive for? Why has it become hard to do Purdah, to pray, to recite the Quran, to abstain from music--- especially when we know what will happen? Does a person need to jump out of his grave to inform us of the ongoings in the grave? Or, have we pegged our justification on fleeting hopes of His Mercy? Know that His Mercy descends upon those who do good. How can we justify our sins when the Quran clearly states that? The question is, to what extent do we see beyond this life? Do we really believe in an afterlife?
5. Priorities: Let’s sift through the minor signs of Qiyamah (easily available in Heavenly Ornaments- Bahishti Zewar) and tick the ones we see around us. I think we can see a few major signs paving its way through the current times. Isn’t it time to be scared and hold our priorities aka our Deen tightly to ourselves? It is time to repent and beseech Allah to have Mercy on us. It is time for us to pray for ourselves and each other’s safety and sanctity.
Please remember me in your duas.